A 2014 Mixed Martial Arts Thanksgiving

By Raphael Garcia

As the family huddles around the table to partake in multiple forms of feast today, we all realize that we have something to be thankful for. That same mentality transitions over to the sports world. Since this weekend is one of the rare weekends without a MMA event on deck, MMA Ratings takes a moment to give thanks for multiple aspects of the mixed martial arts world:

Fox Sports 1

The emergence of Fox Sports 1, and the network’s partnership with the UFC, has been a source of conversation and contention in 2014, but although many people complain about oversaturation, the fact that this network has remained behind the promotion is a great thing. If mixed martial arts is going to grow beyond its current plateau, it will need a launching pad such as Fox Sports 1. Let’s all be thankful that the people running this network are standing behind their decision to support the UFC in a way that gives fans and media more to talk about.

Scott Coker

Competition in the business world is always a good thing for consumers. The ousting of Bjorn Rebney from Bellator MMA didn’t catch very many people by surprise, but it will still be one of the biggest stories of the year. Scott Coker has stepped in to fill the Rebney’s shoes, and is getting off to a great start. Bellator 131 was the organization’s most watched show, and it even beat out the UFC 180 preliminary card that aired same night. Consider this a move in the right direction for the number two organization in the sport.

Brian Stann

As the UFC has started to experiment with different announce teams, Brian Stann has stood out amongst the group as the bright spot in color commentary. He offers insight from his experience in the Octagon, as well as the intelligence to relay the information to fans and the wit to time funny comments perfectly. Stann has truly found his niche in the second stanza of his sports career within commentary, as in addition to MMA, he has also branched out to college football.

Regional MMA

While the majority of the media focuses on the big three promotions within mixed martial arts, the regional scene remains relevant to the growth of the sport. Much the same way the territories used to function within professional wrestling, regional MMA allows fighters to perfect their craft before being called up to major promotions. Think of it as the MMA minor leagues, but just as violent as the “majors.”

The Fans

As with any other sport, the fans of mixed martial arts are what drives the bottom line. They allow media members such as myself to earn income covering the sport that they love, and allow fighters to compete as often as possible. This sport will only grow as much as the fans dictate. Hopefully promotions will take them into account.

Be sure to be thankful for the turkey, stuffing, egg nog, and everything else on the menu today. While doing that, think of some different aspects of mixed martial arts that you are thankful for. Here’s to the sport that has created stars such as Georges St. Pierre, Chuck Liddell, Jon Jones, and Ronda Rousey. Hopefully, 2015 continues to generate great moments.

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